Mr. Ivor Callely, T.D, Minister of State at the Department of Transport today (Tuesday, 31sT May 2005) challenged delegates at an international cycling conference to create a safer and more attractive environment for cyclists. He asked delegates to "...produce conclusions and recommendations that have a lasting influence on the development of cycling in Dublin and elsewhere in this modern era". The Minister of State was opening the Velo-city Conference which is being held in Dublin Castle over the next four days.
Minister Callely spoke of the commitment of the Government to the development of cycling in Ireland. He pointed out that in the Programme for Government a commitment had been give to expand "... the national network of cycleways in order to encourage more people to cycle and to promote cycling as a safe and healthy mode of travel". The Department of Transport is co-operating with Local Authorities to provide cycling facilities in Dublin and in other cities throughout the country. In the case of Dublin, total investment in cycling facilities and associated studies over the past decade has reached nearly €30 million.
The Minister of State pointed out that it was "... important that the cycling facilities that are provided have a heavy emphasis on safety". Incorporating cycle lanes as part of Dublin's quality bus network has been hugely instrumental in providing a safer environment for cyclists and in contributing, in yet another way, to modal shift from the private car.
In conclusion, the Minister of State pointed to the need for a more holistic approach to cycling; an approach which addresses the real and perceived safety concerns of potential cyclist, in order to create an attractive environment for cyclists. To help develop such an approach, the Department of Transport has recently requested the Dublin Transportation Office advise on the future direction of cycling policy for the Greater Dublin Area.
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